Body scanner now in use at Monroe County prison
Finally, the body scanner at Monroe County Correctional Facility is up and running. The scanner is programmed, and the employees who will be doing the body scans have received training.
“This is going to make things much safer and easier, Warden Garry Haidle said.
The problem when you don’t have a body scanner, you can’t see if the person has swallowed any drugs before being apprehended, he said, adding, “If they have swallowed drugs, there is a possibility the bag could break, and the person would die from an overdose.”
Sometimes the person will smuggle in a weapon such as a knife, scissors or anything they think might be a good weapon.
“They could use the weapon to hurt a guard or another inmate, not to mention hurting themselves,” the warden said.
Commissioners’ Chairman John Moyer asked if the inmate count was down and if the numbers usually go down in summer.
“It was down some because of the pandemic, but the trials and sentences have started up.”
Moyer wanted to know if the slowdowns of Monroe County courts had made much difference in the inmate numbers, and Haidle said, “It might have had some impact but not that much. We are taking on 27 more in a few weeks, and I am confident the numbers will go back up.”
There was no fiscal report ready because Monroe County Controller Marlo Merhige was sick.
Moyer had some good news to report to the board.
“In May, we are $61,000 less in salary, wages and overtime than we were last year at this time,” he said. He said the overall expenses so far this year are 38 percent.
“If things stay status quo even with Marlo’s numbers, we should be at 41.6 percent,” he said.
Warden Haidle said, “Knock on wood, we have been COVID-free one entire month.”
The ongoing story of the leaking roof under warranty may soon be resolved. The company is sending men to inspect the roof.
Lea Baylor, director of treatment at the facility, announced a statewide on-the-job and supportive services program.
It is a program to help prisoners overcome barriers and prepare them for when they leave the prison so they have a plan.
Participants will develop work skills in the crafts, good work habits, have a good working relationship, and be part of a skilled workforce, Baylor said.
The training program disciplines include equipment operators, carpenters, truck drivers, laborers and ironworkers.
The program is through the joint effort of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Monroe County Corrections, and PA Career Link Monroe County.
Baylor is talking with inmates and encouraging them to sign up for one of the two information sessions that are available to them.
The next scheduled meeting is 9:30 a.m. July 13.